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Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

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Liquorice
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Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by Liquorice » Sat, 21 Nov 2020 12:36 am

Hi all,
Due to a company re-organisation, there is a very real possibility that a posting to Singapore may be offered to me. I would like your advice on what you think is an acceptable package for moving to Singapore.
I believe my package should be as follows:
1. Basic annual salary SGD 350K, which covers International Schooling for 2 kids (SGD 70K), housing allowance (SGD 96K per year), car allowance for 1 car (SGD 25K per year). I estimate Singapore taxation at around 18%;
2. Annual bonus of ca. SGD 100K, based on hitting the KPIs at 100%;
3. Full medical and dental insurance, including coverage for pre-existing conditions;
4. Insurance coverage for life, critical illness and disability for spouse and I;
5. 5 weeks holiday per year;
6. Moving expenses;

My current household package (we live in Scandinavia):
1. My gross salary (incl. annual bonus) is SGD 250K;
2. My wife is a dentist, and has a gross salary of SGD 200K. I have checked with the Singapore Dental Council, and she will be required to take a qualifying exam to be entitled to practise in Singapore. In other words, I cannot count on her working in Singapore in the 3-4 years we plan to be there. As a side remark, her university is recognised in Singapore for the medical profession;
3. 6 weeks holiday per year, not including public holidays;
4. Life, Critical illness and disability insurance premiums only cost us SGD1500 p.a.;
5. Schooling, including university is free for my children;
6. Medical and dental treatment is free at point of purchase (Medical is covered by the hefty taxation - around 45% of my gross income; and dental is free due to my wife being a dentist);
7. Some other facts - we own 2 cars, and can afford 3 overseas holidays a year. We put aside 12% of our gross income in a private pension. On top of that we have a state pension. Any years spent outside of the country will mean that we lose qualifying years and our state pension will be reduced;
8. I am able to put aside another SGD 20K p.a. for investments;

My questions is: Is this a realistic package to ask for? I work in a niche area of renewables that is about to explode in APAC over the next decade. There are no locals who can do the job I do, as the industry does not exist in Singapore.

TropicalExpat
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by TropicalExpat » Sat, 21 Nov 2020 9:27 am

Liquorice wrote:
Sat, 21 Nov 2020 12:36 am
Hi all,
Due to a company re-organisation, there is a very real possibility that a posting to Singapore may be offered to me. I would like your advice on what you think is an acceptable package for moving to Singapore.
I believe my package should be as follows:
1. Basic annual salary SGD 350K, which covers International Schooling for 2 kids (SGD 70K), housing allowance (SGD 96K per year), car allowance for 1 car (SGD 25K per year). I estimate Singapore taxation at around 18%;
2. Annual bonus of ca. SGD 100K, based on hitting the KPIs at 100%;
3. Full medical and dental insurance, including coverage for pre-existing conditions;
4. Insurance coverage for life, critical illness and disability for spouse and I;
5. 5 weeks holiday per year;
6. Moving expenses;

My current household package (we live in Scandinavia):
1. My gross salary (incl. annual bonus) is SGD 250K;
2. My wife is a dentist, and has a gross salary of SGD 200K. I have checked with the Singapore Dental Council, and she will be required to take a qualifying exam to be entitled to practise in Singapore. In other words, I cannot count on her working in Singapore in the 3-4 years we plan to be there. As a side remark, her university is recognised in Singapore for the medical profession;
3. 6 weeks holiday per year, not including public holidays;
4. Life, Critical illness and disability insurance premiums only cost us SGD1500 p.a.;
5. Schooling, including university is free for my children;
6. Medical and dental treatment is free at point of purchase (Medical is covered by the hefty taxation - around 45% of my gross income; and dental is free due to my wife being a dentist);
7. Some other facts - we own 2 cars, and can afford 3 overseas holidays a year. We put aside 12% of our gross income in a private pension. On top of that we have a state pension. Any years spent outside of the country will mean that we lose qualifying years and our state pension will be reduced;
8. I am able to put aside another SGD 20K p.a. for investments;

My questions is: Is this a realistic package to ask for? I work in a niche area of renewables that is about to explode in APAC over the next decade. There are no locals who can do the job I do, as the industry does not exist in Singapore.

Does your salary have the schooling/car etc included in the $350k or will they provide that in addition? My English may not be that great so I might have misunderstood.

lot286
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by lot286 » Sat, 21 Nov 2020 4:12 pm

More importantly do you have a choice to negotiate the package?

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ProvenPracticalFlexible
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by ProvenPracticalFlexible » Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:14 pm

Is that proposed 350k salary, or salary and the listed allowances together?

Kids International School fees definitely and housing if it's covered is good. 8k per month is pretty good for housing, you can survive with much less, but if you can get that why not.
Car allowance maybe not needed, but transport allowance to cover taxis etc.

Anyway you should ask more than you are getting now, even with the tax rate difference, just to make it financially attractive for the family, as you correctly stated that your wife is unlikely to be working here, or at least it will take some time before she could work.

The regular medical and dental costs are not that high actually. For a family of 4 normal years I don't spend more than 2k$ (dentals visits, and GPs when sick, occasional specialist visit).

But for hospitalization for emergencies and any operations needed can cost a lot, and for that a good insurance is needed.

Your tax rate will be probably lower than 18% but better count higher, so there won't be disappointments. 18% tax rate in Singapore would require about 650kS$ taxable income (and no deductions of any kind).

You should be able to save some money for your own investments and retirement with that level of salary (I'd rather own my retirement investments directly, more reliable than the state pensions in Scandinavia that may change worse over the years, unless you are from Norway of course) and holidays when ever travelling is possible again.

Liquorice
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by Liquorice » Wed, 02 Dec 2020 5:36 pm

Hi all,
Thanks for the replies.
The SGD350K gross p.a. figure I quoted includes the housing, schooling and transport allowances. Upon further consideration, I think SGD 380K would be more appropriate, as the school fees are closer to SGD100K p.a. than SGD70K p.a.
I have not quoted any numbers to the firm yet- but yes- it's a negotiation. I have based my numbers partly on a package I had when I was posted to China back in 2010-13, when I was employed by the firm's main competitor.
I have looked at the profile of the people they have in Singapore in another product line- and it does concern me that in APAC- they tend to have younger, less qualified staff without children, whereas here in Europe (which is still the biggest market with the most expertise), the firm is reliant on older, more qualified staff.
At the end of the day- if they are not willing to pay me what I need- I won't move. I have a good life where I am- and there's plenty of work to keep me busy here in Europe, at least for the next decade.

Re. cost of living- overall cost of living (incl. housing, schooling and transport) -according to Numbeo, Singapore has a higher cost of living than Gothenburg/Bergen/Aarhus. If you take housing/transport/schooling out of the equation then I would agree, Singapore is cheaper (although having said that, a NZ leg of lamb in Scandinavia is still cheaper than in Singapore- don't know why- as it has further to travel, and the Scandinavian supermarket staff are probably paid at least double the Singapore staff)
Last edited by Liquorice on Wed, 02 Dec 2020 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PNGMK
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 02 Dec 2020 6:30 pm

Re meat - not enough competition but getting better....

Re salary - schooling is a big issue for sure. Keep in mind that if the company pay the school fees that is a taxable benefit to you. Also same same for rent and car. All taxable. Personally I prefer to get the cash in hand and make my own housing and car and school choices. There very few tax reduction schemes here but SRS is one that you should consider.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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ProvenPracticalFlexible
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by ProvenPracticalFlexible » Wed, 02 Dec 2020 10:25 pm

Yes, cost of living is different and if you plan to make your exact same or almost same groceries and meat or fish cuts and breads and oats as in Europe, than living in Singapore for sure is much more expensive. If you and the family can adjust a bit, than I'd say it's cheaper even much cheaper with those few exceptions ( booze, cars, International Schools, housing even that is debatable if you live in big city). I mean it's adjustments and I'd be a millionaire here already if I stopped paying the booze tax, but well why would I do that.

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malcontent
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Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Post by malcontent » Thu, 03 Dec 2020 12:49 am

For beer, I target under S$2 / 330ml - that does limit choices, but Leo beer from Thailand is currently under S$12 / 6 pack, and it’s actually my favorite Thai beer. Raffles would be my number two pick. I put these in my wine fridge, they actually taste better at that temp.

For wine, I target under S$18 / 750ml - but only if originally priced S$25 or more. So far this year it’s been mostly Chilean and Argentinian labels, but they are good.

Honestly though, the heavy hitters here: housing, taxes, school, cars & major vacations. As long as you’ve got those covered, you should be good on the rest. Alcohol, dairy products and red meats? You should consume in moderation anyway.

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